Stephen Choate, 62, Pahrump, Nevada, was sentenced on a charge of pattern of mortgage lending fraud. Choate ran a scam between November 2010 and February 2012, to defraud clients of $11,500 in fees under the guise that he would obtain loan modifications for them.
Fifth Judicial District Court Judge Robert Lane of Nye County listened to testimony of more than nine victims before imposing the sentence. Judge Lane sentenced Choate to a minimum of eight years and a maximum of 20 years in prison. He was also ordered to pay $11,500 in restitution, plus additional sums for monthly fraud protection and legal fees.
Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt announced the sentence.
This case was prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Raya Swift.
“The Attorney General’s Office will prosecute those who aim to defraud homeowners,” said Laxalt. “Nevadans seeking assistance with their mortgages are urged to consult HUD-approved counselors. Under Nevada law, it is generally unlawful for a non-attorney to collect upfront fees for loan modification work before the homeowner signs a contract with their lender modifying the loan.”